1.26.2009

One Wish


There are days when I really do despair about my kids each having a conscience and a sense of right and wrong. Yesterday was not one of those days.

Thalia's 2nd grade teacher sends home a packet of graded work each week to be reviewed by the parent(s) in a reusable envelope that must be signed to show that you really did give it a look. We never know what to expect when we open the envelope. Some weeks, it's all check-pluses and "Terrifics." Others, it's "Do Over" or "See Me," which usually means a concept wasn't quite grasped the first time. Yesterday, the envelope yielded Thalia's One Wish.

A few weeks ago, the teacher asked each student to write a short essay elaborating on "If I could make one wish. . . ". This is what she wrote (spelling has been corrected because I can't stand misspelled words, even from a 2nd grader!):

If I could make one wish I would wish for everyone to care for each other. I think people will be more kind if people were more nice. Caring is important because I know people can act nice and kind and be caring. Even to people that you don't know. That's why I want to wish for people to care for each other. ~ Thalia

Immediate warm fuzzies. I almost bawled right there in front of her. I tried several times to tell her how proud I was, but I couldn't quite get the words out because I was just so proud and moved and teary-eyed. She was pleased with my reaction.

I turned the assignment over and read her teacher's comments:

105. Excellent. You are one of only two people who wished for something for others and not themselves. (Smiley face).

Of course that set me off again, smiling and sputtering and trying to tell her again how wonderful her One Wish truly was. Yesterday was one of those days when I thought maybe we're doing something right in our home after all.

1.20.2009

Hoop Dreams

Photo from Google Images

Dylan is working from home today, serendipitously, and we watched the Inauguration together this morning. First Inauguration we've ever watched together actually! Historic, momentous, moving, sobering, joyous . . . and so many other words that I'm not erudite enough to come up with on my own right now. Indescribable.

Obama is an avowed hoops fan, so it's appropriate that the rest of this post is about the Spurs game that Dylan and I attended last week!

In December, Dylan entered a drawing at his work for a pair of free tickets to the Spurs-Lakers game on January 14. Now there are thousands of people who work at USAA. Amazingly, he won the tickets! And not just any game tickets, but the most coveted match-up between Kobe Bryant and the Spurs!

The tickets weren't for just any seats either; they were for seats in the corporate courtside suite! These were not seats in the way high up nosebleed sections. These were cushy leather seats in the boxes just past the first dozen rows of seats. We had awesome views of everything on the court--players warming up, the press, coaches, broadcasters, etc. And the USAA box is lined up with the midpoint of the court. Couldn't ask for a better seat.

Now, the perks-- seats in the box also included dinner (fajitas, salad, sandwiches, etc.) and unlimited drinks at the hospitality suite on the box level AND a private restroom! Usually, a visit to the Alamodome almost always involves a long wait in line to use the bathroom. Even when there are a dozen stalls or more. So knowing that the suite had it's own fancy restroom was very cool. Or maybe I'm just so easily amused!

After a quick dinner (we were running late) with other lucky USAA ticket winners, we took our seats. Seats in the courtside boxes also included complimentary team lineup handouts and at halftime, stats of the players!

Game highlights:
My not-so-secret crush, Sean Elliott, former Spur and current broadcaster for Fox. Seriously, this was the first pic I took. He's so great!

Lucky ticket winner!

Me and view of court--so close!

Special Treat--UT's Colt McCoy at half-time!

The Spurs are amazing to watch. Especially in person. I love the teamwork; it's amazing to me how the ball flies through the air from player to player, like choreographed chaos. And after a comfortable lead, a real nailbiter of an ending!
Check out the time left on the scoreboard:



Take that, Kobe!

And a big fat shout-out to USAA, who made our excellent evening possible! During the second half of the game, USAA recognized the military and their families in attendance:



Their lovely, moving tribute made me proud to be an American last week, just as the inauguration did today.

**Written on 1/20 but forgot to post until 1/22!**

1.13.2009

Catching Up With Christmas: The Santa Letters

Do you believe?

2008 was the first year that our kids had an active interest in Santa Claus as bringer of gifts, and the first time both girls wrote letters to Santa requesting specific items. Thalia wrote her very first letter to Santa last year at school, and her letter was very polite and non-specific, simply asking for "whatever you would like to give."

Thalia wrote a detailed letter to Santa again this year at school, as part of a 2nd grade writing assignment. She even got a typed note in return, sent via her teacher of course! Around the same time, I saw a Macy's ad in the newspaper advertising their special in-store Santa mailbox. Kids could drop off their Santa letters, complete with postage(?), and they would be mailed directly to the North Pole. Each child also received a 'Believe' pin.

Carys's letter, as dictated to her big sister who wrote and illustrated the whole thing! Carys did sign her name.

Thalia's letter requesting a puppy but also giving him the option to again bring "whatever" this year. Gotta love that politeness!

Santa came and went on Christmas eve, and brought not a puppy or Princess Kitchen Set, but instead a Puppet Theater, a girl puppet and a boy puppet, and two Make-Your-Own-Monster puppets, in addition to some other goodies. The Puppet Theater and puppets were played with on Christmas Day and never since. They are now on their way to the attic and possibly to Craigslist. The Princess Kitchen was brought by Lola and Lolo to the "oohs" and "aahs" of my delighted four year old child. The Princess Kitchen has also not been touched since the day after Christmas.

No Show?

Gone for good?

Oh well, it's tough to be Santa.

All photos except for letters from Google Images.

1.11.2009

Cheap Trick

Our next space heater? Too cute Japanese space heaters (photo from Google Images)

Today I asked Dylan if our heater was on. The weather was deceptively sunny and bright, but quite frigid and extremely windy. A biting cold wind. I asked not because I was feeling particularly cold indoors, but just out of curiosity. Dylan informed me that the heater could not possibly be on because he hasn't turned it on at all this entire winter season. Wow. I was amazed. I thought surely the heater must have kicked in on some of the random really cold days we had in December; the lowest temperature in San Antonio last month was in the 30s, just above freezing.

So now I know two things for sure:
  1. We have pretty darn good insulation in this cookie-cutter house of ours. It's been cold on several days (in addition to being almost hot on others) since winter officially began, but we haven't really suffered from it in our comfy cocoon. Yes, I have felt particularly cold in the mornings, but who wouldn't when tumbling out of a warm bed? And when I work in my home office during the day, where the windows face north and get no direct sunlight, it can be kind of chilly because let's face it, the lightbulbs aren't heating up the room! But overall, we're pretty comfortable when we're dressed in clothing appropriate for the season (Thalia's penchant for short shorts in winter notwithstanding) and hanging out at home. This house is better-built than I realized!
  2. Our three-year-old winter heating plan really works! A few years ago, Dylan had this idea to save on heating costs: Space Heaters and Electric Blankets. Since we're all out of the house most of the day and it's coldest at night, we heat only our bedrooms at bedtime. No point in heating the entire house. Thalia and Carys have mini space heaters (kid-safe, from Costco) that heat up their small rooms very quickly and are programmed to stay on until a set room temperature is reached. Our own bedroom is much bigger, so rather than try to warm up the entire room, we simply use an electric blanket at night! We used my electric "security" blanket that I had since I was about 16 years old until last year, when I realized it might be dangerous to still be using the same blanket with a 20-year-old heating element! We have since bought a new one, but I have to admit, it's not nearly as good as the really old one. But it does keep us warm, has dual temperature controls (a must for my hot-blooded hubby and perpetually cold me), and fits nicely under the bed when we don't need it. On days when it's been really cold and we're at home, I've moved the space heaters from the girls' rooms into the playroom or living room near where we're sitting or playing to keep us comfy. Occasionally I move one into my office to warm my toes. I love space heaters. Years ago, I used to have one at work under my desk so my legs and feet would stay toasty. I'm sure my boss never knew!
I hope our electricity bill reflects some of this next month! It's pretty cool how our cheap trick to stay warm really works for us. And if we save some pennies this winter, we'll definitely be spending them this summer on air conditioning when it's 105 degrees outside--there's no way I'm going to suffer through that!

1.01.2009

Happy New Year Resolution!

Digital image by Nicole Young

Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!

One of our New Year Resoutions is to keep in touch with our friends and loved ones better and more often! The best things in life aren't things--they are the people who make our lives so much richer just by being around us.

Love,
Melissa, Dylan, Thalia & Carys